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Incorporating Electronic Motor Drives Into The Existing Undergraduate Electric Energy Conversion Curriculum

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.252.1 - 1.252.8

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Herbert Hess

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2333

Incorporating Electronic Motor Drives into the Existing Undergraduate Electric Energy Conversion Curriculum

Herbert L. Hess Department of Electrical Engineering University of Idaho - Boise Engineering Boise, Idaho


Adjustable speed drives offer an opportunity to increase student interest and extend educational opportunities in undergraduate electromechanical energy conversion instruction. Industry is adopting drive systems for energy conservation, but there is a need for better understanding of drive behavior. In an electromechanical conversion course, opportunities to incorporate drive systems exist in the introductory portion, as individual machines are introduced, in the laboratory, and in the course closure. Capstone design is a feasible place for realistic machine-drive projects. Methods of incorporating topics are presented and tradeoffs are discussed.


Not many years ago, the Adjustable Speed Drive (ASD) was just a specialized electronic system associated with direct current machinery. Now it seems that induction motors in many places have sprouted an ASD. The primary reason is the energy saving advantages, which are well documented.[1, 29] Since electric motors consume more than two-thirds of all electrical energy, [2] the market for ASDs will probably continue to expand.

The proliferation of the ASD in industry is a strong argument for introducing it to engineering students. If the student learns of the machine, then its increasingly common means of obtaining energy should be included. An energy conversion course is a logical place to learn both the machine and its drive system. Considering the drive system without the machine is difficult and awkward; on the other hand, considering the machine without the common industrial drive systems, considering the industrial landscape, is rather incomplete.

Teaching What Industry Uses

Electromechanical energy conversion has developed another important dimension with the advent of the (ASD) for alternating current machines. These drive systems have become ubiquitous in several local industries affecting students and graduates of the University of Idaho (UI): processing of dairy products[3], potatoes, sugar, lumber[4], specialized building construction, and semiconductor devices.[5] Of UI engineering students graduating in 1994 and entering industrial employment, fully 80% were

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Hess, H. (1996, June), Incorporating Electronic Motor Drives Into The Existing Undergraduate Electric Energy Conversion Curriculum Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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